July 06, 2010

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By Julia Ferrante

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Forty faculty members from two dozen departments or programs at Bucknell University will spend this summer creating new courses for greater exploration of environmental and global issues.

The professors will develop the courses in these subjects as part of the new, comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences curriculum, known as the College Core Curriculum. Next summer, another group of faculty members will create courses related to diversity in the United States and quantitative reasoning.

"The faculty and College of Arts and Sciences thought it was time to revise the curriculum to meet the needs of students in the 21st century," said Helen Morris-Keitel, the common learning agenda coordinator and an associate professor of German. "We are putting significant funds into developing this curriculum. It is a concerted effort."

Expanding world views
The new College Core Curriculum, which will be launched in the fall with the arrival of the Class of 2014, draws upon the breadth of Bucknell's academic core while critically examining issues in the global community. It was developed after a review of the college and is intended to provide students with a foundation of critical thinking skills and civic engagement, said former College of Arts and Sciences Dean Christopher Zappe, who helped develop the new curriculum before being named provost at Gettysburg College.

The curriculum includes four components: intellectual skills, tools for critical engagement, disciplinary perspectives and disciplinary depth: the major. The intellectual skills component will include a required foundation seminar for first-year students, a foreign language course requirement (to begin with the Class of 2015), a co-taught integrated perspectives course for second-year students (to begin with the Class of 2016) and a laboratory science requirement.

The curriculum requires that students take two courses from each of the college's divisions, including the arts and humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences and mathematics.

Tools for critical engagement will provide students with opportunities to apply skills and knowledge to issues that are either a historical or a new challenge, including Diversity in the United States, Environmental Connections, Global Connections, and Quantitative Reasoning.

New courses
The courses being developed this summer include: Environmental Connections, which will allow students to examine their personal connections with the environment in conjunction with scientific approaches, policy issues, or cultural narratives about the environment; and Global Connections, which will address international politics, economics or cultural perspectives.

Future courses will include Diversity in the United States (offered beginning in the fall), which will explore approaches to gender, sexual orientation, class, race, religion or ethnicity in the cultural landscape of the United States; and Quantitative Reasoning, which will involve quantitative examination for comprehending, evaluating and communicating basic claims and evidence. 

Contact: Division of Communications